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The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 1,100 km (680 mi) from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the east, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.
|Chosŏn'gŭl: 조선반도; Hancha: 朝鮮半島; MR: Chosŏn Pando
(used in North Korea, Japan and China),
Hangul: 한반도; Hanja: 韓半島; RR: Han Bando
(used in South Korea and Japan)
|Peninsulas of Asia|
The Korean Peninsula shown in Dark Green
|Country|| North Korea
|Borders on||China, Russia, Sea of Japan, East China Sea, Yellow Sea, Korea Strait|
|Highest point||Paektu Mountain|
|- elevation||2,744 m (9,003 ft)|
|Lowest point||Sea level|
|Length||1,100 km (684 mi), north to south|
|Area||220,847 km2 (85,270 sq mi)|
|Density||337/km2 (873/sq mi)|
The peninsula's names in Korean, Chinese and Japanese all have the same origin, that being Joseon, the old name of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty and Gojoseon even longer before that. In North Korea's Chosonmal, the peninsula is called Chosŏn Pando (Chosongul: 조선반도 / Han'cha: 朝鮮半島), while in China, it is called Cháoxiǎn Bàndǎo (朝鲜半岛/朝鮮半島). In Japan, it is either Chōsenhantō (Kanji: 朝鮮半島 / Hiragana: ちょうせんはんとう) or Kanhantō (Kanji: 韓半島 / Hiragana: かんはんとう). Meanwhile, in South Korea, it is called Hanbando (Hangul: 한반도 / Hanja: 韓半島), referring to the Samhan (since the Joseon Dynasty, Samhan was also used as an idiomatic meaning of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.) They both use "Korea" as part of their official English names, which is a name that comes from the Goryeo (or Koryŏ, in North Korea) dynasty (고려/高麗).
Until the end of World War II, Korea was a single political entity whose territory roughly coincided with the Korean Peninsula. In August 1945, the Soviet Union declared war on Imperial Japan, as a result of an agreement with the United States, and liberated Korea north of the 38th parallel. U.S. forces subsequently moved into the south. By 1948, as a product of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, Korea was divided into two regions, with separate governments. Both claimed to be the legitimate government of all of Korea, and neither accepted the border as permanent. The conflict escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces—supported by the Soviet Union and China—moved into the south on 25 June 1950. Since the Armistice Agreement ended the Korean War in 1953, the northern section of the peninsula has been governed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, while the southern portion has been governed by the Republic of Korea.
The northern boundaries for the Korean Peninsula are commonly (and tacitly) taken to coincide with today's political borders between North Korea and its northern neighbors, China (1,416 km (880 mi) along the provinces of Jilin and Liaoning) and Russia (19 km (12 mi)). These borders are formed naturally by the rivers Amnok and Duman. Taking this definition, the Korean Peninsula (including its islands) has an area of 220,847 km2 (85,270 sq mi).
Comparison of the two countries on the Korean PeninsulaEdit
|Indicator||North Korea||South Korea|
|Government||Juche single-party state||Representative democracy|
|Formal declaration||9 September 1948||15 August 1948|
|Area||120,540 km2||100,210 km2|
|Population (2014/2013 est.)||24,851,627||50,219,669|
|GDP total (2011/2014 est.)||$40 billion||$1.755 trillion|
|GDP/capita (2011/2014 est.)||$1,800||$34,777|
|Currency||North Korean won (sign: ₩, ISO: KPW)||South Korean won (₩, KRW)|
|Drives on the||right|
|Active military personnel||1,106,000||639,000|
|Military expenditure (2010/2012)||$10 billion||$30 billion|